Food writer, author and New York Times columnist Mark Bittman is teaming with the University of California and Berkeley Food Institute to launch a video series focused on food-related research that starts June 8.

The 10-part series, Mark Bittman: California Matters, takes the renowned writer across the state to explore leading-edge UC research in food, sustainable agriculture, policy and health.

Bittman is in California this spring as a distinguished visiting fellow at the Berkeley Food Institute.

“While I’m here, I want to find out as much as I can about the agriculture and food research surrounding it,” Bittman said. “There’s a lot going on out here.”

The first episode will explore urban foraging with UC Berkeley’s Tom Carlson and Philip Stark, who are studying the prevalence, nutritional value and possible toxicity of wild edibles in urban food deserts as well as barriers to widespread use of these foods. New stories will run online every two weeks with bonus footage in between.

UC is producing the video series in collaboration with the Berkeley Food Institute as part of the UC Global Food Initiative. UC President Janet Napolitano, together with UC's 10 chancellors, launched the initiative in July in an effort to help put UC's campuses, the state and world on a pathway to sustainably and nutritiously feed themselves.

In addition to wild edibles, other stories will include:

  • The history of Chinese-American food and culture with Yong Chen of UC Irvine
  • A look at restaurant worker rights with Saru Jayaraman of UC Berkeley
  • Why ocean acidification matters with Tessa Hill of UC Davis
  • Efforts to improve school meals and prevent childhood obesity with Kristine Madsen of UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco
  • Sustainable food systems with Martha Brown and Daniel Press of UC Santa Cruz
  • Pollinators role in crop production with Claire Kremen of UC Berkeley
  • Lessons about pesticide exposure among mothers and children in the Salinas Valley with Brenda Eskenazi of UC Berkeley
  • The changing face of California agriculture, highlighting Hmong and Mien farmers, with Jennifer Sowerwine of UC Berkeley and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources

For the last story, Bittman caps the series with a roundup of his experiences in California.

To view the videos, visit California Matters on YouTube.